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10 Steps to Take When You Experience Symptoms of Withdrawal

One of the most complex parts of recovery is dealing with the symptoms of withdrawal. But with the right tools, you can get through even the most challenging days.  Dealing with withdrawal symptoms is a sign of your body’s dependence on a specific substance, like drugs or alcohol, and the lack of that substance in your system. It’s part of the recovery process, but it isn’t something you have to go through on your own. In fact, you shouldn’t. Your road to recovery should include the support of others, which we’ll discuss later in this blog.  Today’s blog looks in detail at the symptoms of withdrawal and steps you can take to get through it and to the other side. Let’s dive in.

What Is Withdrawal?

Your brain’s chemical makeup changes when you take enough drugs or drink high volumes of alcohol. Long-term use results in dependency, where your brain’s circuitry and chemistry relies on that drug or drink to function.  Taking that substance away leaves your brain in a state of panic. It has to learn how to function on its own again. It’s a challenging process to go through, but it’s not impossible. You truly can heal your brain’s chemistry so you can live your best life! 

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Going through the symptoms of withdrawal looks different for everyone since we all have different brain chemistries. You could experience some but not all of these symptoms. Common side effects include:
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nightmares
  • Muscle aches
  • Back and joint pain
  • Tremors
  • Restlessness
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Respiratory distress
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tingling in the extremities
  • Mental confusion
  • Short-term memory issues
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Paranoia
  • Delirium 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Excitability
  • Watery eyes
  • Bouts of crying
  • Runny nose
  • Shakiness
  • Suicidal thoughts 
  • Pain sensitivity
  • Disorientation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Appetite fluctuations
As you can see, there are a lot of symptoms you may experience! Some of these symptoms are more severe and require immediate medical care. Please seek medical treatment if you experience suicidal thoughts, mental confusion, irregular heartbeat, delirium, hallucinations, or seizures. Being unable to sleep while experiencing symptoms of paranoia is a very upsetting experience. So are many of these other symptoms. But with the right tools, you can equip yourself to work through your symptoms and sleep again.  Now that we’ve looked at the symptoms of withdrawal, let’s look at 10 ways to manage them. 

10 Ways to Manage Withdrawal Symptoms

  1. Go to a medical detox program, where you’ll be with others who are going through the same thing. Not only will you have others to relate to, but there will be a team of medical providers ensuring you stay safe as your body goes through withdrawal. You’ll receive emotional support and medications to help you through this challenging time.
  2. Exercise releases endorphins, which help restore the chemical balance in your brain. Not only that, but exercise also helps with tension, stress, sleep, and self-esteem. And once you’ve gotten through your symptoms of withdrawal, exercise can continue to help by decreasing cravings, improving physical health, and mentally strengthening you
  3. Eat well. As tempting as those fries and that shake are, they aren’t good for you, especially when you’re going through symptoms of withdrawal. Caffeine, refined sugars, processed foods, oils, and saturated fats can worsen your symptoms. On the other hand, eating foods with lots of protein, essential vitamins, and nutrients will help restore your brain and body to optimal health. It’s also a good idea to take supplements like iron and vitamins A, C, D, and E, in case you have deficiencies in those areas.
  4. Drink lots of water. It’s no secret that water is essential for human survival. But do we realize how essential it is? Withdrawal is known to dehydrate the body, so continually sipping a glass of water will help your body heal, reduce cravings, and lower stress levels.
  5. Maintain a structured sleep schedule. Not only is it important to get enough sleep at night, but it’s also important to maintain a structured sleep schedule. We recommend going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. This will help your overall recovery.
  6. Join a support group. You can join many 12-step programs and support groups where you’ll gather with like-minded individuals who understand exactly what you’re going through. Support groups minimize relapse as you focus on your commitment to sobriety. These groups help at every stage of recovery but are especially helpful during withdrawal.
  7. Add in holistic methods. Proven medical detox strategies go well with holistic methods that can help your recovery. Chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture, and alternative medicine can help with tension, stress, pain, and blood flow.
  8. Stretching and meditating stimulate blood flow and circulation while relieving tension and muscle pain. Both can help you become more aware of and in tune with your body, something that addiction can steal from you. Meditation can specifically help with introspection and self-reflection and connect your body with your mind and spirit. Anxiety, physical pain, and depression can all be reduced with stretches and mindfulness meditation.
  9. Communicate with others. You don’t want to be isolated during withdrawal, and talking is a form of therapy in which you can verbalize how you’re feeling and what you’re going through. Chances are, the person you’re talking to will have helpful insight. You can talk to family, friends, mentors, and therapists – anyone who will support you throughout your recovery.
  10. Relax. Slowing down and taking deep breaths when you’re stressed out and dealing with cravings can reduce your anxiety and help you feel better. 
These 10 steps will help you through your symptoms of withdrawal so you can continue forward on your road to recovery. 

Ardu Recovery Center Can Help

Ardu Recovery Center offers in-patient and outpatient recovery services. No matter what you’re going through, we have the tools you need to get through your symptoms of withdrawal and help you recover so you can get back to living your best life. We offer dual diagnosis, detox, and mindfulness-based relapse treatments for recovery from drugs, alcohol, prescription drugs, opioid, opiate, cocaine, marijuana, benzo, meth, and heroin. We provide everything mentioned in this article, so whether it’s for you or a loved one, reach out to us today to begin your road to recovery.Call us at 801.512.0086 or contact us through the form on our website to get started.